Audi’s team title, Vergne’s race win Sunday in New York

July 15, 2018

Audi’s team title, Vergne’s race win Sunday in New York

July 15, 2018

Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s pair of Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt split the headlines during the New York City E-Prix finale weekend of the fourth ABB FIA Formula E Championship season.

On Saturday, Vergne’s driver championship clinch overshadowed Audi’s 1-2 finish.

On Sunday, Audi’s 2-3 finish to clinch the team’s championship overshadowed Vergne’s race win.

After Vergne locked up the driver’s title on Saturday with a drive from 18th place to fifth, he entered in a far better position Sunday starting third. Teammate Andre Lotterer started second behind Renault e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi, who won the pole.

However, Lotterer and Vergne’s starts were placed under review by Race Control as both flirted with a jump start. Race Control deemed Lotterer to have gone early while Vergne was cleared of any penalty.

This meant Lotterer would need to serve a 10-second stop-and-go penalty. Crucially, it took him out of a top-two spot on track for the team’s championship.

It left Vergne up against the Audi pair of di Grassi and Abt in a one-on-two fight to see which team would grab the title.

Vergne led di Grassi through the pit stop cycle, and then defended against the Brazilian in a battle reminiscent of their scrap at Punta del Este, Uruguay earlier this year.

With just five laps remaining, the leaders approached slower traffic. Vergne defended to the inside on Lap 39 as di Grassi tried to the outside.

Further down the order, Lotterer got past Stephane Sarrazin for 10th place on Lap 40 to claw back at least one point. He gained another spot past Sam Bird for ninth a lap later, which closed the gap to just two points. If Buemi got past Abt for third, that’d swing the team’s title back to Techeetah.

It didn’t happen. Vergne took the win but Audi’s 2-3 was the bigger story. Di Grassi moved into second in the driver’s championship as a result.

Formula E resumes with season five in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December. Testing of the new Gen2 car will follow over the coming months.

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